40 percent of minors in Lorca suffer post-traumatic stress a year after earthquake

- January 22, 2014

Science Daily/Plataforma SINC

Spanish researchers have analyzed the impact of the Lorca catastrophe by the percentage of minors suffering post-traumatic stress. Results reveal that 55% of young people displayed this disorder a month on from the earthquake and 40% were still suffering a year later.


On 11 May 2011, Lorca suffered an earthquake measuring 5.1, preceded by another of 4.5, which killed nine people and caused significant material damage.


"The analysis indicates that 55% of the minors suffered from post-traumatic stress one month after the earthquake, while after one year this had decreased to 40%," as Concepción López Soler, researcher from the University of Murcia and co-author of the study with Juan José López García, explained.


"It is important to highlight that the younger age groups and girls are more sensitive to developing these symptoms, which coincides with the results of other studies," the Murcian researcher points out. "Young girls in particular are a special risk group." Among the younger students, 54% of girls showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress compared to 39% of boys.


Stress after trauma

"Natural disasters create a sense of loss of personal safety and endangered survival among the population," adds López Soler. Earthquakes are one of the disasters which cause the greatest psychological disturbances in the population and PTSD is the reaction most associated with adverse conditions.


"With previous earthquakes, the affected population has been quite variable," she states. Three years after the Turkey earthquake in 1999, the prevalence of PTSD was 59%; 18 months after the earthquake in Kashmir (between India and Pakistan), it was 64.8% and ten months after the disaster in L'Aquila (Italy) in 2009, it was greater than 60%.


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